Strategic thinking skills are, from my experience, among the most highly desired leadership skills. Why? Because leaders able to think critically, logically, and strategically can have a disproportionate impact on a business’s growth.
The good news is with the right mindset and practice you can improve your strategic thinking skill.
Here are four ways to improve your strategy skills:
1. Ask strategic questions
If you want to improve your strategic thinking skills, one of the simplest things you can do is ask more strategic questions. Doing so allows you to use your planning skills, become better at spotting opportunities, and develop a more strategic mindset you can leverage.
According to the Harvard Business School, strategic questions can relate to a challenge, opportunity, or ambiguity you face in your current situation, whether personal or professional. They might, for example, relate to launching a new business or product, beating a competitor, or structuring your business for innovation.
2. Observe and reflect
In addition to asking strategic questions, you need to answer and address them skilfully. One of the most effective ways of doing this is to observe and reflect on your current situation, ensuring any strategy you conceive is grounded in facts.
For example, imagine that your business has begun losing market share for one of its products among its traditional customers. At the same time, it’s gained market share from an entirely new customer base. It’s easy to assume why this might be happening, but doing so can lead you down the wrong path at a key moment in your business’s existence.
Instead of blindly following an assumption, gather as much information as possible to use when crafting your strategy. For example, this might include holding user interviews with new customers to identify the different jobs they want your product to perform.
Understanding why new customers are attracted to your product can enable you to tailor your marketing strategy and product development to better address their needs.
3. Think through opposing ideas
Once you’ve decided on a strategy that can help your business reach its goals, question your assumptions, and put your hypothesis through rigorous testing. By doing so, you can ensure you’re not overlooking another possibility.
Playing devil’s advocate with your ideas can allow you to pre-emptively identify weaknesses in your argument, and equip you to defend your strategy when others ask questions. It can also help you sharpen the logic skills you need to communicate and execute your strategy.
4. Receive some formal training
By using the methods described above, you can improve your strategic thinking skills at your own pace. However, there are other learning options you can pursue.
If you need to quickly improve your strategy skills more formal training might be your best option.